The Cancer Questions Project, Part 21: Mustafa Cetiner

Dr. Mustafa Çetiner is well-known for his research in Hematology and has published numerous articles in different national and international journals and three books on Hematological Malignancies. He was the chairman of the Turkish Hematology Society Bone Marrow Deficiency Scientific Subcommittee during 2014-2018. He is a member of many national and international associations, including Turkish Hematology Association, American Society of Hematology, European Bone Marrow Transplantation Registry. He is one of the founders of the Cancer Fighters Association and is currently a board member and vice president. Dr. Çetiner is currently working as Professor of Hematology at Acibadem Maslak Hospital in Turkey, Istanbul.

Azra Raza, author of The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last, oncologist and professor of medicine at Columbia University, and 3QD editor, decided to speak to more than 20 leading cancer investigators and ask each of them the same five questions listed below. She videotaped the interviews and over the next months we will be posting them here one at a time each Monday. Please keep in mind that Azra and the rest of us at 3QD neither endorse nor oppose any of the answers given by the researchers as part of this project. Their views are their own. One can browse all previous interviews here.

1. We were treating acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with 7+3 (7 days of the drug cytosine arabinoside and 3 days of daunomycin) in 1977. We are still doing the same in 2019. What is the best way forward to change it by 2028?

2. There are 3.5 million papers on cancer, 135,000 in 2017 alone. There is a staggering disconnect between great scientific insights and translation to improved therapy. What are we doing wrong?

3. The fact that children respond to the same treatment better than adults seems to suggest that the cancer biology is different and also that the host is different. Since most cancers increase with age, even having good therapy may not matter as the host is decrepit. Solution?

4. You have great knowledge and experience in the field. If you were given limitless resources to plan a cure for cancer, what will you do?

5. Offering patients with advanced stage non-curable cancer, palliative but toxic treatments is a service or disservice in the current therapeutic landscape?